Missing man: Police divers find body and car in St Olaves canal

The search for a man who went missing at a friend's stag party took a grim twist when his car was found submerged in a canal with a body inside yesterday.

Police believe the body to be that of Charles Samuel Watson, who was last seen in Caesar's Bar, Great Yarmouth in the early hours of Easter Monday.

And mystery surrounds how the 25-year-old and his silver Volkswagen Golf came to be in the New Cut canal, in St Olaves, after a night of drinking.

Police confirmed the trail to find the Henstead man had run cold on Thursday.

But hours later broken glass was spotted on a hard standing beside the canal, next to the Haddiscoe bridge, and police made the tragic find in darkness.

Police divers from Nottinghamshire attended and recovered the body from the vehicle at around 1.30pm.

And when the vehicle was raised from the water it was upside down, with its side windows smashed and heavy denting to its passenger side.

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The registration plate - AY07 MGV - confirms it is the car which Mr Watson had driven to Great Yarmouth on Easter Sunday.

Mr Watson had split from his friends at the stag party, and was last seen between 2am and 2.30am on Easter Monday.

He had planned to spend the night with friend's in Yarmouth, but contacted them at 2.15am to tell them that he would not be staying.

Detective Inspector Sarah Pettengell told the EDP on Thursday: 'We know he changed his mind for some reason and then the trail goes cold.

'Speaking to his family and friends, it's completely out of character.

'We're not aware of any vulnerability. He had consumed alcohol so that makes him vulnerable, but we're not aware of any issues that would lead him to go missing.'

Mr Watson – who was on a stag night but was not the bridegroom – was reported missing on Tuesday.

The road leading to where Mr Watson's car was discovered runs in a straight line past St Olaves Marina to the canal.

The only building besides the marina is an unoccupied house.

Officers are now piecing together what happened in the days between Mr Watson going missing and the discovery of what is believed to be his body in the canal.

A spokesman for Norfolk Police said: 'Officers from Great Yarmouth CID can confirm that the vehicle which is being recovered from the river Waveney at St Olaves is a silver VW Golf.

'The body of a man has been discovered inside this vehicle.

'Formal identification is yet to take place; however, it is believed to be the body of 25-year-old Charles Samuel Watson from Henstead, who was last seen in the early hours of Monday, April 9, 2012.

'There do not appear to be any suspicious circumstances however, the death is now being treated as a fatal road traffic collision, pending further enquiries.

'A post mortem will take place next week and the death has been referred to the coroner.'

Mr Watson was a pupil at Woodbridge School from 1998 to 2005 and staff say their thoughts are with his family.

Adam Lubbock, head of sport at Woodbridge School said: 'Sam was a very good sportsman and was always popular with both staff and fellow students.

'He played first team cricket and rugby and was captain of rugby in his final year and led his team on a tour of Spain during that season.

'I know everyone at the school will be deeply saddened to hear this tragic news and our thoughts and prayers will be with his family.'

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